I am reading “the Reconciling Wisdom of God: Reframing the Doctrine of the Atonement” by Adam J. Johnson. He suggests that Wisdom is an orchestrating attribute that best draws together all the aspects of the Atonement: penal substitution, reconciliation, sacrifice, victory, justification, propitiation, liberation, new creation, etc.
“Here the wisdom of the atonement has a decisive role to play. Attending to the fact that Christ’s atoning work was a work of wisdom brings powerfully to mind the way in which God, through one simple means, brings about a massive range of purposes. The means in questions is clearly the death and resurrection of the incarnate Son of God by the will of the Father and in the power of the Spirit, and the abundant range of purposes we have already seen in the previous chapter…” p. 97
That got me thinking…
If Justice is the governing theory, why didn’t God simply judge? In love he sent his Son.
If Love is the governing theory, why didn’t God just accept us in an act of kindness? To satisfy justice he sent his son.
If Honor is God’s reason, why did Christ accept humiliation for us?
If God’s Glory was rejected, why did he bother to send his Son? The heavens declare the Glory of God.
If Christ came to win a Victory over death, why did he die? Sin brings death, but Christ brought the resurrection.
If Alienation is the problem, why didn’t God invite us to return, with no questions asked? He sent his son as a Shepherd to seek and save the lost.
If Error is the problem, why didn’t God stop at giving revelation of the truth? He sent his Son to be a teacher and a sacrifice and the Spirit to bring his word to us.
If Corruption of our nature is the central problem, why prevents God from purifying us?
If Enslavement to sin is the problem, why can’t he just set us free. Redemption takes a price.
I am not sure Johnson gets it right to say that in his Wisdom God found the best, most complete way to work out salvation. But He is right that the Atonement is not one simple thing – all the attributes of God are in play. The Trinity is united in the multi-faceted work of Atonement.